Chapter Teaser

He had brought the spell with him just in case, though by now Abraham had cast it so many times it simply rolled from his tongue like a second language. The paper, torn from his father’s spell book, was a hidden token in his pocket. Jenario may not have known it was gone since he rarely flipped through his spell books anymore. But the horn knew.

It always knew.

I’ll wager it knows what I’m doing even now, he thought as he pulled back the curtains surrounding the sleeping form of Corrigan.

Long hours of practice using the assassin had the young magic-user fairly confident that he was ready. He chuckled to himself, recalling how Nathaniel had collapsed the moment he pronounced the Living Sleep spell. By reversing certain syllables, Abraham found he could induce a full cycle of sleep or simply have Nathaniel unable to function except for his vocals.

Not that he could function anyhow. Abraham rolled his eyes at the thought. Nathaniel could use a good dose of this for all the liquor he’s consumed. Funny how I haven’t seen him of late to try it.

Like before, Abraham gently unfurled the harpy’s wings that had snugged around his breast. He would need full access to the chest area in order to complete the spell.

“You may fly yet,” he leaned over to whisper.

There came a slight shiver, followed by a groan. It was usually all the Black Wing could muster under the spell’s influence, though how powerful it was Abraham could not be sure until he tried.

Don’t hold your breath on this, he thought with vexed concentration and extended a hand over the upper body. I’m still learning how to conjure magic, and it may be that I can’t wake him at all.

Putting aside all other thoughts, Abraham fixed his attention on the harpy and brought the Living Sleep spell to mind. All that was needed was the removal of a single syllable in order to change its property from sleep to wake.

“Kar’soom de Lsahr’ken!” Abraham pronounced clearly, rolling the r’s as his father had taught him. From these intense trainings also came the words of creatures put into the language of magic. Never would he have assumed the word for Black Wing contained a silent ‘s’, and was careful to leave it out until the spell’s echo faded around the tower room.

He waited, daring to hope his version of the spell was powerful enough pull the harpy from unending sleep.

“Corrigan?” When no movement came, he began to worry. If this had been Nathaniel, he’d be awake by now. So what’s different? Gingerly, he touched the wing.

There came a sudden growl.

“Don’t!” Corrigan coughed and strained to disconnect his body from bed, to no avail. He sucked in several breaths before attempting to speak, a dry monotone that reflected his lacking energy. “Always…pulling…the wings!”

“Sorry ’bout that,” Abraham apologized. With a sign, he watched those amber eyes pry themselves open and dart around the room before briefly closing, only to repeat. “Can you not get up?”

He stood back to give the harpy’s wings more room. They could just as easily take my head off! Yet, from the way they drooped after several attempts, he doubted caution was needed.

“Obviously,” was the dry comment.

Abraham cursed under his breath. “He’s still too strong.”

“Can’t be all that powerful when you’ve nearly surpassed him,” Corrigan returned. “Weren’t you just an illusionist when you came?”

Abraham thought back to his first few weeks in Sapphire. Never did he imagine he would acquire what his father could not.

“It’s not the magic,” he whispered harshly. “It’s the horn’s controlling nature. But perhaps if I persist with the past, my father’s thoughts might wander enough to let the spell lapse even more.”

“That all?” Corrigan rolled his eyes.

“And until then, you’ll have to feign a nice, peaceful slumber.” Abraham tried to sound cheerful, but those prying amber orbs locked onto him like a hawk ready for the strike.

“Pray I’m not hungry when this is over…mage.”


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